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Small Hotels Conference Set for November

The Tourism Department’s Small Hotels and Business Development Conference is set for Nov. 12 to 14, the Tourism Department announced Tuesday in a press release.

The department expanded the annual small hotels conference this year to include stakeholders from the wider business community. Now called the U.S. Virgin Islands Small Hotels and Business Development Conference, its sessions will take place in St. Croix and St. Thomas where participants will hear from world experts on topics ranging from social media, geotourism and the bridal market.

"We are looking forward to some stimulating sessions as we support our destination’s small hotels and business community with business intelligence from some of the world’s leading experts in their disciplines," Tourism Commissioner Beverly Nicholson-Doty said.

The commissioner added that the annual conference is aimed at enhancing the territory’s tourism product in a highly competitive marketplace.

The three-day conference begins Nov. 12 and 13 at Divi Carina Bay Beach Resort and Casino on St. Croix. On Nov. 14, it moves to the Frenchman’s Reef Marriott Beach Resort on St. Thomas.

The Nov. 12 and 14 sessions will culminate with a business exhibition and trade show, A special half-day bridal presentation by bridal expert Jacqueline Johnson will take place Nov. 13 on St. Croix.

The conference will offer parallel seminars, featuring important marketing techniques and intelligence to help enhance businesses.

Keynote speakers include former Marriott veteran and author Steve Curtin, who wrote "Delight Your Customers: 7 Simple Ways to Raise Your Customer Service from Ordinary to Extraordinary," as well as Courtney Fennell and Beth Thomas of Google.

The session on social media will feature social media marketer Josh Rosenberg, digital technology consultant Shomari Moorehead and Development Counsellors International account supervisor with Brittani Wood.

Jonathan Tourtellot, geotourism editor of National Geographic Traveler, will be joined by Steve Paganeli, head of destination marketing sales for the Americas at TripAdvisor for the session on geotourism.

The reputation management talks will be led by Daniel Craig, a former hotel general manager and consultant specializing in social media strategy and online reputation management.

The Business Exhibition and Trade Show will take place immediately after the full day sessions on both islands. To secure a display table, contact Canika John at 774-8784 or ccjohn@usvitourism.vi by Nov. 1.

To register for the sessions, contact the Marketing Department at 772-0357 on St. Croix or 774-8784 on St. Thomas before Nov. 6.

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